Monday, November 29, 2010

Living a Year of Kaddish by Ari L. Goldman 2003

"...Goldman, with his seasoned journalist's ear for the telling quotation...brings the stalwart regulars at his New York synagogue, Ramath Orah, to life with brio, as he does those who attend the far-flung congregations where he prays in Israel, Chicago, the Catskills, Paris." from a review in the New York Times by Esther Schor, October, 2003

Ari Goldman, a professor of journalism at Columbia University and a former writer for the New York Times, has written an engaging memoir about the year he said Kaddish for his father. Kaddish is recited within the religious community in memory of a family member. This is a story about the power of the age-old ritual and how it reinforces family and community ties.

Goldman writes about how comfortable he feels at his Orthodox synagogue, Congregation Ramath Orah, which was founded in 1942 by Jewish refugees from Luxembourg and is near Columbia University on the upper West Side of Manhattan. There he feels close to the spirit of his father who was also a practicing Orthodox Jew. He writes about how important his synagogue community is to him, especially those who are also saying Kaddish, and using his skills as a journalist he records many conversations with fellow mourners which contribute to a fuller discussion of the significance of saying Kaddish. When he traveled and sought out synagogues where he could say Kaddish, he describes the local synagogue communities and their customs.

On Shabbat he made sure his children came to the synagogue with him and observed him reciting Kaddish for their grandfather. He hopes his children will continue the tradition and will say Kaddish for him. Continuing the tradition of the daily ritual prompted Goldman to think about his father and his relationship with him, and during that year of saying Kaddish, he came to realize that in many ways his father was a role model for how he lives his Jewish life.

To read an interesting personal essay on saying Kaddish, click here.

People
Father’s family
Ephraim Finkelstein- author’s great-grandfather
    Nettie – his daughter; married Samuel H.L. Goldman
        Marvin Goldman – Nettie and Samuel's son; married and divorced unknown first name Mehler; married Teme,  his  second wife; author’s father
            Shalom Goldman – son of Marvin
            Dov Goldman – son of Marvin
            Ari Goldman – son of Marvin; married to Shira Dicker; author
                Adam, Emma, Judah – the children of Ari and Shira
        Ruth Goldman – Nettie and Samuel's daughter

            David Miller – author’s cousin
            Zalman Deutsch – author’s cousin
            Elise Goldman – author’s cousin; married to Murray
                Shanna – their daughter
            Ian Goldman – author’s cousin; Elise’s brother
            Donna – author’s cousin
            Debbie Kram – author’s cousin
            Debra Kolitz – author’s cousin

    Henry and Rochelle Dicker – parents of Shira
        Mordi Dicker – brother of Shira

Mother’s family
Tillie Mehler – author’s grandmother
    Author’s mother – married and divorced Marvin Goldman
    Mindy – mother’s sister; married to Norman Lamm
Minnie, Paulie and Bracha – sisters of Tillie

Friends and Acquaintances
Michael Paley
Eliezer Simonson
Irving Koslowe
Steven Friedman
Joseph Chester
    Leo Chester – his son; married Henrietta
    Randolph Chester – his son
Jack Nelson
Enrique Levy
Robert Serebrenik
Manfred Tauber
Jeffrey Kobrin
Barry Wimpheimer
Shamir Caplan
James Schmeidler
Allan Kozinn
Deborah Norden
Archie Green
Benjamin Migdal
        Ariela Migdal – Benjamin’s granddaughter
Deb Kovsky – married to Chris Apap
Yair Silverman
Sam Shachter and Evelyn Musher
Michael Frank
Avi Weiss
Ben Strauss
Philip and Pauline Sandberg
    Louis Sandberg – their son
Elie Spitz
Yosef Eliyahu Hankin
    Louis Henkin – his son
Steven Greenberg
Daniel Kurtzer
    Yehudah Kurtzer – his son
Fay and Reuven Weiss
Tibor Herdon
Saul Berman
Shimon Kurtz
    Mordecai Kurtz – his son
Simcha Bunim Cohen
    Eli Shlomo Cohen – his son
            Simcha – Eli Shlomo’s grandson
Norbert Abenaim
Rumi Gerard-David
Zvi Vorhand
    Moshe Vorhand – his son
Amy Silver
Bryan Bramley
Sam Domb


Places
Jerusalem, Israel
Congregation Ramath Orah, NYC
Har HaMenuchot, Jerusalem, Israel
Congregation Hechal Moshe, NYC
Hartford, Connecticut
Upper West Side, New York City
Great Neck, New York
Rosmarin’s, Monroe, New York
Camp Monroe, Monroe, New York

Kiryas Joel, New York

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